The new Airbus A-380 aircraft has several Oklahoma connections

Tuesday, January 18th 2005, 3:36 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa company is doing some of the work on the landing gear for the massive jet. News on 6 anchor Craig Day has the story.

"That's the wing piston for the 380. That's one of the largest things we do for the A380." Bill Emery is the president of Southwest United Industries. It's a longtime Tulsa company that does work for several airplane and helicopter manufacturers.

The Airbus A-380 is the latest project. "It's a huge airplane. I'm surprised when I see schematics of the airplane with the small landing gear on this huge aircraft." Southwest United Industries takes that landing gear, manufactured by Goodrich, and applies a spray coating to it. The coating prevents wear and tear and corrosion of metal or aluminum parts. Then workers grind the parts. "It makes it smooth. It makes the size uniform. So they can put a bushing, a bearing on. Whatever is required after we're finished with it. Or a wheel hub."

The company actually began its work on the Airbus A-380 during the summer of 2003. It meant an investment of more than one million dollars in new equipment. The company will invest another half million dollars for equipment. They'll soon add two additional spray booths to go along with the six currently in operation. Emery says it all adds up to good news for the company and Tulsa's aviation industry. "I believe that we'll grow. Not only with this program, but with the Boeing Dreamliner 7E7. That will create a lot of new jobs in Tulsa and with the military programs that have started recently. We do see future growth.”

Southwest United Industries has already hired 35 additional employees to keep up with the increased workload from the Airbus A-380. It expects to hire an additional 20 to 25 employees over the next year or two.

And the News on 6 was first to tell you last year that Tulsa aerospace giant Nordam won a big contract to do even more work on the new Airbus.

Nordam will be the exclusive supplier for all the cabin and door windows in the giant plane. Those windows are made in Tulsa.

Nordam says it had to meet the most extensive testing standards ever required by Airbus to win the contract.